JULY 24, 2016
MAIN TEXT: JOHN 14:1-7
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
We have been shaping our thinking about Jesus by looking at seven “I AM” statements that Jesus made concerning His identity. In our text, Jesus is in the Upper Room with His disciples celebrating the Passover meal. This was His last meal with His disciples before He would be betrayed and crucified.
The key focus of our text today is verse 6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. This “I AM” statement is a response to Thomas that happened in the middle of a larger conversation. The context of this verse brings a much more robust understanding of Jesus’ statement.
John 14:6 is very special to Via Church. It is the verse that inspired our name. Via means “the way”. With the huge heart of compassion that is characteristic of our community of faith, it is powerful to see that Jesus’ statement was aimed at comforting hurting hearts and addressing doubts. Jesus gives these words of hope and clarifies who He is.
Jesus is preparing His disciples for His departure and death – these portions of John are called the farewell discourse. The atmosphere in the upper room was serious and sober. Their hearts were troubled. They had limited understanding and their confusion was great. The disciples had been told that Jesus was going away, that He would die soon, that one of the disciples was a traitor, and that Peter would deny Jesus. They were grieving and felt inadequate for the work that was ahead of them.
This is why Jesus said in our text, “Let not your hearts be troubled…” (verse 1a). Our hearts can be troubled and full of sorrow today too. We can feel like the Lord has deserted us or given us work that is beyond our abilities. We fail and fall. Sometimes we are betrayed and also betray others. We hurt.
If your heart is troubled today, don’t let it be. There is hope in Christ. Jesus is not being superficial when He tells His disciples not to be troubled. Jesus gives us instruction on how to rest our troubled hearts. Our anxiety about the future can be relieved by what Jesus states about Himself.
Belief = Trust
Jesus explained how to calm their troubled hearts: believe; trust. “Believe in God; believe also in me” (verse 1b). Believe and trust - in God and in Jesus. The Gospel of John has been called the gospel of belief. This belief that we are called to in John’s gospel is a trust. Our human pride doesn’t necessarily like to trust anything beside ourselves. We pride ourselves on being self-sufficient. However, the Bible never commends someone for being self-sufficient but rather contains numerous rebukes for being too self-reliant. God reliance brings glory to God.
Prayer is a declaration of dependence. When we pray we acknowledge our insufficiency. I have insufficient wisdom to make the decisions I need to make. I have insufficient strength to resist temptations that I will face. I have insufficient skills to manage conflict that may arise. I have insufficient resources to minister to people that I will encounter. We must acknowledge our totally dependence on God – trusting Him to be sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).
In order to believe in Jesus for salvation, we have to recognize that our righteousness is insufficient to coexist peacefully and eternally with God. We are deficient in every meaningful way. Embrace your deficiency and calm your heart with belief and trust in Jesus. Cliff Richard said, “The more we depend on Jesus, the more dependable we find He is”.
The Father causes hearts to be fruitful
Jesus assured the hearts of the disciples by speaking about God the Father. Like children seek out their parents whenever they are in trouble and the parents respond
Jesus’ destiny was to be with the Father. That is where He was going and is today. Thomas wanted to know the way to get there. Even after Jesus’ clear statement in verse 6, Philip requests that Jesus show them the Father (verse 8). Jesus makes it crystal clear, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father; I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (verses 9-10).
Jesus does not say that He knows the way, the truth, and the life. Nor does He say that He taught the way, truth, and life. With this I AM statement, He declares Himself to be the final key to all mysteries. Let’s break down Christ’s statement:
He is the way
We live in a pluralistic society today. It is common to hear the statement, “There are many ways to God”. The message that Jesus was the only way to the Father was offensive to the Jews and it still raises eyebrows and tempers today. Jesus not only points to, but He is, the only way that gives access to the God the Father.
Making up other ways to God besides Jesus voids the entire gospel story and isn’t Christian. It may seem right, but Proverbs 14:12 warns us well, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death”. As the early Church moved forward after Christ’s life on earth, this message remained the foundation of salvation. Peter, later preached these words that He heard first-hand in our text, “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
He is the truth
“Truth” and “Life” merely clarify the “way”. God’s ways are truth and life. God’s character is truth. Truth is a rare commodity in our world. Philosophers vainly seek it but rarely attain it. No mind is great enough to grasp totally truth. No one is pure enough to achieve it by conduct.
The truth of Christ - deposited in the life a follower of His - sets them free! Jesus taught this to Jews that had believed Him earlier in John 8:31-32, 36. At salvation, Jesus takes us out of the darkness of lies and deception and brings us into the light of His truth. This is a reality of those of us who abide in Him.
He is the life
All throughout the Gospel of John, life is used to describe spiritual vitality that originates with God and lifts people out of sin to Himself (John 1:4). Christianity is not a system of philosophy, a ritual, a code of laws. Rather it is the impartation of divine vitality. It is the deposit of the Spirit of God into spiritually dead humans and bringing them into the life that they were designed to live. It is the Spirit that brought life to the dead body of Jesus dwelling in people and giving them life that those apart from God cannot fathom.
This understanding of Jesus being life will be crystal clear as we look at Jesus’ claim to be the vine. If we are removed from the vine we have no life – but if we abide in Him there is life. Belief in Jesus takes our hearts from being troubled to being fruitful. It is the life of God at work in and through us as we follow Jesus the way, believe in Jesus the truth, and surrender to the life of Jesus imparted to us by the Spirit.
“No one comes to the Father except through me"
This week, as you reflect on the message, utilize this section to help you apply what has been taught to your life. Think of friends, co-workers, neighbors, family etc., that you could meet with to have a time of mutual sharing to discuss the implications of the message.
This simple acronym (BLESS, B - Bless, L - Listen, E - Eat, S - Speak, S - Sabbath) should help you to frame your life according to the great commandment “love God” (Matthew 22:37) and the expression of that commandment in loving your neighbor (John 13:34). Each time you meet, start by discussing the rhythms of your life according to B.L.E.S.S.
Intentionally bless: Christ-followers, non-believers and those different than you.
Listen to what God is saying to you, through His Word and others.
Share a meal with a Christ-follower and also a non-believer.
Talk to God through prayer and to others about Jesus through witness.
Be intentional about taking time to both rest and recreate.
DISCUSS THE MESSAGE
Read: John 14:1-7
Since our name “Via” means “way”, we point to John 14:6 often in explaining our name and purpose. Share a time when you were able to share the name Via Church with someone and explain this verse.
Prayer is a declaration of dependence. What do you sense God calling you towards in your dependence on Him?
In looking at Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, are there areas of your life that do not declare this (workplace, possessions, finances, relationships, etc.)?